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German retail tariff conflict: trade associations enable voluntary wage increase

In the ongoing tariff conflict in the German retail sector, which has been running for eleven months, the German Retail Association (Handelsverband Deutschland, HDE) and its regional associations pave the way for a solution even without a tariff agreement. The voluntary increases can be credited towards a later tariff agreement. As of the new tariff year, tariff remuneration increases of up to a maximum of ten percent are possible.

Photo © Andrii Zastrozhnov |

The tariff-carrying associations within the HDE organisation have agreed in the joint Tariff Policy Committee of the HDE to grant tariff-bound member companies in all tariff areas the option to make a voluntary wage increase of up to ten percent for their retail employees based on the current tariff tables, which will be fully creditable towards a later tariff agreement. This association recommendation, which includes both wages and salaries, can be implemented in the tariff area no earlier than the beginning of the new tariff year. Apprentice remuneration may be increased from the start of the new training year in 2024. The rule is that if wages in the company were already raised based on the last association recommendation from October 2023, an increase under this new association recommendation is only permissible there to the extent of the difference.

'After eleven months of tariff conflict with more than 60 negotiation rounds nationwide, we have come to the conclusion that unfortunately, ver.di [the trade union] has no interest in reaching a timely agreement in the retail sector. For us, this is a bitter realisation, especially since we had improved our offer several times,' said Steven Haarke, HDE's tariff manager. Employees should not have to continue suffering from the stubborn strategy of their union. With the employers' latest offer, real wage gains would have been secured, as inflation is currently receding.

With this renewed association recommendation from the trade associations, at least the tariff-bound companies, which can afford it despite the still extremely difficult economic conditions, can convey this good news to their employees. 'The sector has been variously affected by the restraint in purchasing during the Corona pandemic and the current global conflicts, so there will also be companies that cannot follow suit,' said Haarke. That is entirely acceptable; there is no legal obligation to implement these.

'We continue to strive for a speedy resolution of the tariff conflict; for this, the ver.di union must finally abandon its blocking stance,' added Haarke.

More information:
Handelsverband Deutschland

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